The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) revealed today that 15 applications for sports betting licenses were received during the state’s bidding period that ended yesterday at 2 pm EST.
The MGC says 15 firms each paid a nonrefundable $200,000 application fee. The money is to cover expenses that MGC will incur during its suitability probe of each applicant.
The state’s three casinos each applied for Category 1 sportsbook concessions. If approved for sports betting privileges, as anticipated, Encore Boston Harbor, MGM Springfield, and Plainridge Park will each be allowed to operate an in-person sportsbook and partner with up to two online sportsbook platforms.
There are two classes of Category 3 online sportsbook licenses. One class requires the online sportsbook to be tethered to one of the physical casinos. The other Category 3 class is for standalone online sportsbooks not linked to a casino. The tethered licenses are not subject to a competitive bidding process, as the casinos are afforded the privilege of selecting which firms to work with.
Massachusetts’ sports betting law additionally allows for the state’s two horse racetracks — Suffolk Downs and Raynham Park — to apply for a retail sportsbook license that comes with permission to partner with one tethered Category 3 licensee. Both tracks opted not to initially apply during the MGC’s open application period, but told the state they plan to do so will next year. Raynham told the state it will be partnering with bet365 for its in-person and online sportsbook business.
The 15 applicants seeking sports betting rights are Encore Boston Harbor, MGM Springfield, Plainridge Park, WynnBet, Caesars Sportsbook, BetMGM, Penn Sports Interactive (Barstool Sportsbook), Fanatics Sportsbook, Bally Bet, bet365, Betr, Betway, DraftKings, FanDuel, and PointsBet.
Encore Boston Harbor intends to open a WynnBet Sportsbook at its Everett resort. The casino plans to additionally use its Category 1 license with WynnBet online, and also partner with Caesars Sportsbook to allow the Caesars-owned sports betting unit entry in Massachusetts’ forthcoming online sports betting market.
MGM Springfield will also use its parent company’s sportsbook unit in-person and online. MGM Springfield plans to leverage its sportsbook permit to open a BetMGM Sportsbook in Springfield and allow bets to be wagered remotely on the BetMGM Sportsbook app. MGM says it will hold off on deciding whether to partner with a second online sportsbook.
Plainridge, operated by Penn Entertainment, hopes to use its sportsbook license to bring Penn Sports Interactive (Barstool Sportsbook) and Fanatics Sportsbook to the commonwealth. Both are currently planned to operate only online.
The standalone Category 3 applicants not tethered to a land-based casino are Bally Bet, Betr, Betway, DraftKings, FanDuel, and Poinstbet. The MGC is allowed to grant no more than seven standalone online sportsbook licenses.
The MGC said its goal is to have in-person sports betting up and running in January 2023, and online operations live sometime next March.
Upon MGC approval, each sportsbook licensee will need to pay the state $5 million, minus the $200,000 application fee. Land-based sportsbooks will be subjected to a 15% tax, while online operators will need to share 20% of their gross sports betting income.
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